China clears Boeing 737 MAX return to its skies

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) announced today that troubled Boeing 737 MAX jets have been cleared to return to flying in China – the last major market where the aircraft was awaiting approval.

China has the largest 737 MAX fleet after the US, with 97 aircraft operated by 13 carriers before the suspension.

“After conducting sufficient assessment, CAAC considers the corrective actions are adequate to address this unsafe condition,” the CAAC said on its website, ending nearly a three-year ban on the aircraft in China.

According to the CAAC, Chinese pilots will need to complete new training before commercial flights can start while Boeing is required to install additional software and components.

The United States allowed flights to resume in December 2020 after certain software and wiring modifications had been made. The European Union gave its permission in January. Brazil, Canada, Panama, and Mexico, as well as Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan, Australia, and Fiji have also given their approval. 

“The CAAC’s decision is an important milestone toward safely returning the 737 MAX to service in China,” Boeing said, adding it was working with regulators “to return the airplane to service worldwide.”

In 2020, China overtook the US to become the world’s biggest aviation market, according to the Center for Aviation data.

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